China Voice: Nothing to fear from new Internet ID policy
BEIJING, Dec 28, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
by Xinhua writers Gui Tao and Huang Xin
By protecting Internet users'
legal rights and privacy, new Internet regulations will help,
rather than harm, the country's netizens.
China's top legislature on Friday passed rules requiring
Internet users to use their real names to identify themselves to
service providers when signing web access agreements.
The decision, which aims to ensure online information security
and safeguard public interests, has been fearfully interpreted.
Some reports claim that the identity management policy will
discourage online muckrakers who have worked to expose corrupt
government officials in recent years.
However, many service providers already maintain similar
requirements. China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom,
China's three biggest telecoms companies, have required
individuals and enterprises to provide their real names when
subscribing to data transmission services since September 2010.
Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging site that has been used by
netizens to blow the whistle on corrupt officials, has required
users to register with their real names since earlier this year.
Online muckraking is not necessarily incompatible with a
requirement to provide genuine identification. Many whistleblowers
prefer to use their real names, as they feel this will give their
claims more weight.
Other reports state that the identity policy will clamp down
on the freedom of speech in Chinese cyberspace. ( But the
accusers should know that freedom without limits or responsibility
is chaotic and dangerous. No one should enjoy the freedom to
spread malicious rumors or libel, even online. The rule should
only be feared by slanderers who wish to take advantage of online
For law-abiding netizens, the rules passed on Friday will only
better safeguard their lawful rights and privacy. The rules, which
stress the protection of Internet users' privacy, stipulate that
citizens have the rights to demand service providers to delete
online information that discloses their identities or infringes
upon their own rights.
The decision empowers supervisory departments to take
technical and other necessary measures to prevent, stop or punish
those who infringe on online privacy.
Instead of depriving netizens' freedom and entitlement, the
rules protect the legal rights of every Internet user. The rules
will ultimately help to create a better online environment in
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